Could Scott Brown Run for U.S. Senate in . . . California?

From our Late to the Revival Party desk

It’s hard to believe that Downturn Scotty Brown (R-Girl Trouble) might ever run for higher office again, but then there’s this from yesterday’s New York Times First Draft:

Boxer’s Retiring, and Ad Agencies Are Celebrating

The actor George Clooney, former Senator Scott P. Brown of Massachusetts and the billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer now have one thing in common. They are all in the conversation about who might take a shot at filling Senator Barbara Boxer’s California seat in 2016. (She announced on Thursday that she wouldn’t be running again.)

Oh, wait – it’s just a joke. Via the Washington Post:

Maybe Scott Brown would like to run in California now?


Former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown’s hop across the state line to make a run as a New Hampshire resident didn’t work out so well for him. But now that he’s got a permanent scarlet C on his chest (for carpetbagger) why not try again?

Maybe next time a little further from his actual home state? A place that would really appreciate a former centerfold model. Somewhere like, say, California?

Parody accounts on Twitter happen almost instantaneously with news events. So it took almost no time after Sen. Barbara Boxer announced she would not seek reelection for her California Senate seat in 2016 for someone on Twitter to imagine an opening for Brown.

It was @ScottBrownCA , with 18 tweets and 576 followers about eight hours ago. The bio read: “Proud to have long and strong ties to the Golden State.”

It’s gone now.

Here’s the real Scott Brown in the Googletron.

And here, for good measure, is Sen. George Clooney.

As the late-to-the-party Barack Obama might say, it’s the silly season.

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Starkitect: The Two Facades of Frank Gehry

Frank Gehry is the Rorschach test of modern architecture. And his latest creation –  Fondation Louis Vuitton – is the ultimate inkblot.

From Joel Henning’s mash note in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal:

A New Art Palace Sets Sail in Paris


As you approach Frank Gehry’s monumental structure on the edge of Paris in the verdant Bois de Boulogne, you first see a billowing array of glass panels joined together like a three-dimensional collage, very much suggesting a ship under sail, an illusion reinforced by the sunken reflecting pool fed by a ground-level cascading fountain. Here, glass becomes Mr. Gehry’s defining material, molded in a wholly novel way. The architect of the titanium Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain and the stainless-steel Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles has found yet another way—entirely new—to make our jaws drop, inspired in part by his love of yachting and in part by the monumental barrel-vaulted glass roof of Paris’s Grand Palais exhibition hall off the Champs-Élysées.

This is the Fondation Louis Vuitton, built by LVMH, the company whose luxury brands include Louis Vuitton and Moët Hennessy, as well as Dior, Fendi, Bulgari, Donna Karan, Givenchy and a few dozen others. LVMH may well be the ideal client for this structure, perhaps the most self-conscious work of architecture designed to house art since Frank Lloyd Wright’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on New York’s Fifth Avenue.

Self-conscious, of course, is Frank Gehry’s middle name, as Martin Filler’s less-taken take in the New York Review of Books indicates.

Gehry’s postmillennial work tends to be anything but humble, especially the extravagant Fondation Louis Vuitton, which is the equivalent of fifteen stories high and from certain angles imparts the overbearing aggressiveness projected by the tilting Cor-Ten steel sculptures of his competitive friend Richard Serra. The Vuitton building, which occupies a verdant site in the northern part of the Bois de Boulogne, has been an instant popular hit. It continues a long history of Parisian modern wonders at once novel and bizarre, typified by the Montgolfier balloon, Foucault’s pendulum, the Eiffel Tower, and the Spirit of St. Louis, which combined technological novelty with conceptual audacity and drew tout le monde to gawk at the latest sensation.

And draws them now to gawk at endless Louis Vuitton marketing, which is notably absent from the much more artistic Fondation Cartier, according to Filler.

An admirable example of a contemporary art center built by a luxury goods purveyor is the Fondation Cartier, which was founded in 1984 and this year celebrates its twentieth anniversary in the wonderful building designed for it on the Boulevard Raspail by Jean Nouvel. One of his strongest yet most discreet designs, this rectilinear, multilayered glass-walled structure has aged exceptionally well. More importantly, the Fondation Cartier’s programming has been consistently excellent, as exemplified by its current show, “The Inhabitants” (curated by the artist Guillermo Kuitca with works by himself as well as Francis Bacon, Vija Celmins, David Lynch, and Patti Smith, among others), a juxtaposition of disparate works that make a great deal of subliminal sense when viewed together.

Versus Gehry’s work, which makes mostly commercial sense. At least so far.

(We’ll pass over in silence Gehry’s farpotshket Eisenhower Memorial, a.k.a. Gehry’s Folly, about which the less said – and done – the better.)

Meanwhile: Dommage, Bois de Boulogne.

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Pinterest Goes Native for a Little Pin Money

There are currently 70 million Pinterest pinners, and every one of them is about to get spinned to the marketing post.

From BostInno‘s Rebecca Strong:

Pinterest is Getting More Ads but You Might Have Trouble Spotting Them

Advertisers’ posts may blend in better on Pinterest than on other social media sites.

One thing that’s always separated Pinterest from the social shutterstock_220532287media pack: It’s had very little advertising. That’s about to change.

In June, the company launched a program to test promoted pins from a limited number of brands, including including Nestle, General Mills, Kraft, Gap, ABC Family, Expedia and Lululemon. Now that we’re in the new year, that program will expand. As of [last week], Pinterest is letting advertisers pay to promote their pins, boosting the visibility of them (as on Facebook or Twitter).

Money graf . . .

Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.

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The World’s Oldest Living Altar Boy (Mario Cuomo Edition)

St. Ignatius Loyola Church, the Kim Kardashian of the Upper East Side that’s about to swallow the far more worship-worthy Church of St. Thomas More, is back in the news today.

(As the hardlapsing staff has previously noted, we were an indentured server at St. Thomas More in the 1960s.)

Via Capital New York:

According to a statement from Andrew Cuomo’s office, a private funeral mass for Mario Cuomo will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Ignatius Loyola Church on the Upper East Side. Visitors may call at the Frank Campbell Funeral Home at 1076 Madison Ave. in Manhattan from 1 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 10 p.m. Monday.

First of all, the Frank Campbell Funeral Home has long been God’s halfway house for luminaries of all stripes.

From the New York Post:

Inside New York City’s funeral home to the stars

For the famous and infamous of New York City, 1076 Madison Ave., at 81st Street, is a mandatory stop.

For all of them, sadly, it’s the next to last stop.

It’s the headquarters of Frank E. Campbell, the ­“funeral director General View outside Funeral Home for Joan Rivers in NYCto the stars” whose most recent RIP VIP was comedy legend Joan Rivers, who died this month at 81 . . .

The list of clients reads like a Who’s Who: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Robert F. Kennedy, Ed Koch, Judy Garland, Leona Helmsley, Ed Sullivan, James Cagney, Greta Garbo, George Gershwin, William Randolph Hearst, Malcolm Forbes, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth, L’Wren Scott, Heath Ledger, gangster Frank Costello and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

And now Mario Cuomo.

Toss in St. Ignatius and you have the deluxe Upper East Side sendoff.

S0 – ave atque vale, Mario.

Rest in peace with Leona Helmsley.

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Dead Blogging ‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’ at Huntington Theatre

Well the Missus and I trundled down to the Huntington Theatre last night to catch its new production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike and, say, it was swell . . . to some degree.

The play is what in earlier times might have been called a zany romp – a mashup of Anton Checkov, Greek mythology, classic fairy tales, and slapstick comedy. (You’ll find some thumbnail sketches of the characters here.)

TheHuntington’s website describes the play this way:

In this wickedly wonderful Chekhovian mashup from master of comedy Christopher Durang (Betty’s Summer Vacation), Vanya and Sonia’s quiet, bucolic life is hilariously upended when their glamorous movie star sister arrives for the weekend with her brawny boy toy in tow. A Tony Award-winning Broadway sensation, this rollicking and touching new comedy pays loving homage to Chekhov’s classic themes of loss and longing.

At times perhaps too rollicking for its own good: There was enough scenery-chewing that the cast had to floss during intermission. (To be fair, all the actors – Candy Buckley, Marcia DeBonis, Tyler Lansing Weaks, Allison Layman, Martin Moran, and Haneefa Wood  – had more bright spots than otherwise.)

Anyway, here’s Huntington artistic director Peter DuBois talking about the production, which is directed by Jessica Stone as sort of a tribute to the late Nicholas Martin, the former Huntington artistic director who originally produced the play on Broadway.



Coincidentally, this appeared in today’s Boston Globe:


Chekhov, two ways

An interpretive performance of Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya,” the 1994 film “Vanya on 42nd St.” is a tribute to the Russian writer’s work, as well as the creative process itself. The special 15194261974_270f200156_oscreening of the Louis Malle-directed film — which stars Wallace Shawn and Julianne Moore — is followed by a conversation with guests from the Huntington Theatre Company’s production of the Tony Award-winning play “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” (above), who will discuss the different approaches to Chekhov’s classic themes of loss and longing. Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. Tickets: $10.25 adults; $8.25 seniors and children.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. 617-734-2501.

We just thought you might want to know.

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Dead Blogging the South Station History Tour

Well the Missus and I trundled downtown yesterday to catch the free history tour at South Station and, say, it was swell.

The Missus had seen this the other day in the Boston Globe.

Keeping track of a landmark

SOUTH STATION HISTORY TOUR We walk through it often, maybe even every day, to get where we need to go. We rely on its food court for a pick-me-up on our commute and rely even more on the public transit, but have we ever stopped to think how South Station came to be? Tours are held the first Saturday of the month; meet at the concierge desk. Jan. 3 at 1 p.m. Free.
South Station, corner of Summer Street and Atlantic Avenue. 617-217-2236.

So we – and about 100 other people – got a crash course in the history of the Hub’s first transportation hub. From the website:

27Dec1898It was December 30, 1898 and Boston’s new South Union Station was big news in the city and far beyond. In the presence of 5,000 invited officials and guests, Boston Mayor Josiah Quincy, III was joined by New Haven Railroad head Charles P. Clark, to introduce his city and the world to the largest rail station ever built .The following day, New Year’s Eve 1898, amid a typical Boston snowstorm, an estimated 10,000 attended a public sneak preview and further dedicatory events.

We had a terrific tour guide – smart, funny, extremely knowledgeable. Sorry we didn’t get her name.

There’s a great slideshow here, but it’s a lot more fun to go there. The next one is February 7.

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Quote o’ the Day (Kiddie Spa Edition)

From our Late to the Mani-Pedi Party desk

In her year-end blog post, 17 Hopes and Dreams for The Times in the New Year, New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan lists this as #17: “More absurd Styles trend stories. Long may they run.”

Unfortunately, they seem to be running now on Page One.

Exhibit A from yesterday’s Times:


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Welcome to the world of the $50 “princess facial” and the New York chain Seriously Spoiled Salon and Spa.


Which brings us to our quote o’ the day:

The [International Spa Association] president, Lynne McNees, said it was good for girls to learn that beauty treatments can reduce stress and promote health. “It’s very similar to taking little kids to the dentist,” Ms. McNees said. “Let’s get them early, and get those really good habits.”


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Kiss Your Ads Goodbye

For the past several years, the hardtracking staff has dedicated itself to chronicling the “ad creep” in news and entertainment media: Stealthy native advertising in online publications from BuzzFeed to the New York Times; shameless product placement in TV shows like Bones and Hawaii Five-0; brand journalism in all kinds of media; and etc.

Now comes this piece in NewsCred that squeezes all of the above into the category of content. (Tip o’ the pixel to MediaPost’s Center for Media Research.)

17 Marketing Influencer Predictions for 2015

Companies got serious about content marketing, brands and publishers embraced native advertising, millennials were Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 1.59.16 PMpushed into the spotlight, and big data made it possible for content creators to figure out exactly whom they were targeting. More than ever, marketers focused on providing valuable content to their consumers, and making it accessible on every platform, including mobile. With companies globally spending an estimated $135 billion on content marketing in 2014, staying ahead of the curve and seeing down the road isn’t only wise creatively — it’s essential financially and strategically. So what will content look and act like in the near future?  . . .

Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.

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Martha Gellhorn’s Excellent 1947 American Adventure

Martha Gellhorn was much more than just another ex-wife of Ernest Hemingway.

She was a superb war correspondent, an accomplished novelist, and a perceptive analyst of post-World War II America. (See Boston University’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center for further details.)

Exhibit A: This perambulatory piece for The New Republic in 1947, two years after WWII had ended.

(Tip o’ the pixel to Longform)

Martha Gellhorn’s Revelatory Road Trip Across America

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 12.53.44 AM

For several weeks now we have been driving through the American Way of Life. For a time, in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, the American Way of Life looked like the tender memories of GI’s, homesick songs, politicians’ promises and the unattainable dream of all the homeless and hungry of Europe. Between the dogwood and the lilacs and the redbud and the flowering chestnuts, the fields lay combed and sleek, and the clean farmhouses stood inside their screens of old trees. The little towns were lovelier than one remembers American towns can be, faded brick and white wood, the tall, cool trees, and life sleeping there. Perhaps this is the Old World now. These people seemed to believe in peace and to feel safe inside their houses and their habits. It is amazing how permanent a place can look, how rooted and unchanging the populace, when there are no burned tanks beside the road, no buildings split in half, no fields scooped by shell fire.

For Gellhorn, after WWII there were two Americas: Those who went to war and those who didn’t.

Regarding the former:

All those who truly earned their foreign travel (as opposed to racketeers, slobs and the ones who never had it so good) have this knowledge of suffering and want. You find them everywhere, the traveled Americans, who saw the world from two-and-a-half- ton trucks, in convoy, going from one ruined place to another. It is a tragedy that they are apparently so voiceless.

Regarding the latter:

We drove through places called Old Hundred, Hamlet, Pee Dee. The main streets seem to have been ordered from a firm that mass-produces main streets for small Southern towns and there is nothing charming about the invariable drugstore, movie house, Woolworth’s, and the stucco gas stations on the crossroads . . .

There is a lot of religion, one way and another, in dignified, pillared Baptist churches and in epileptic gospel meetings, and one must assume that the conditions in heaven and hell are more absorbing to people who plan to spend time in one or the other, than are conditions beyond the confines of Old Hundred, Hamlet and Pee Dee.

Epileptic gospel meetings.


As is Gellhorn’s entire essay.

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Daniel Berehulak Wins NYT ‘Year in Pictures’ Bakeoff

As you splendid readers might – or more likely might not – have noticed, the hardlooking staff has annually chronicled the leading lights in the New York Times Year in Pictures review.

(Previous winners: the redoubtable BU alum Tyler Hicks and the indomitable Sergey Ponomarev).

This year’s honors go to the estimable Daniel Berehulak, whose photos of Africa’s Ebola epidemic dominate the Times review.

Front page:


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More faces of Ebola:


Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 1.49.06 AM


See more of Berehulak’s work here.

And check out the work of all the others. The text of the Year in Pictures section asks “How close are you willing to get?” In the case of the Times photographers, as close to the truth as possible.

P.S. Guess whose photo is Page One above the fold in today’s Times.


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That’s right:


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